Fantasy Football Playoff Challenge Rankings: Tom Brady, Steelers duo top lists

The regular season might be over, but you can still get your Fantasy Football fix by playing in a playoff challenge throughout the postseason.

Several sites offer a playoff challenge game and we have you covered with player rankings, which can also be applied to daily leagues.

The ideal situation is to find players who play four games (Wild Card round through the Super Bowl), but three games should be the goal. Obviously, the more games they play, the better their overall production, but knowing the rules of your playoff challenge is important.

The first thing you want to do is map out the postseason and figure out who will win in each round. For example, in the AFC, I expect Houston to beat Oakland and Pittsburgh to beat Miami. New England will beat Houston, and Pittsburgh will upset Kansas City on the road. The Patriots will then advance to the Super Bowl over the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.

The games that could go either way in the AFC are the Raiders and Texans in the Wild Card round and the Chiefs and Steelers in the Divisional Round. I don't have faith in Connor Cook or Matt McGloin to win on the road, which is why I like Houston even with Brock Osweiler or Tom Savage, and I think the Steelers are better than the Chiefs, even in Kansas City. It also wouldn't be a shock if the Steelers reached the Super Bowl as well.

In the NFC, I like Green Bay over the Giants, which is close, and Seattle over Detroit, but then it gets tricky in the Divisional Round. Atlanta should beat Seattle at home, but Green Bay at Dallas can go either way. You can make a strong case for the Cowboys, Falcons or Packers to reach the Super Bowl, but I see the Packers beating the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.

My Super Bowl prediction before the season was a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl, so I'm sticking with that since both teams are still alive. With that in mind, I'm leaning heavily toward players from Green Bay and New England in any playoff challenge.

But I also like players from the Steelers since they could play 3-4 games, and I'm still leaning on guys from the Falcons and Cowboys in case they play three games as well. Seattle should play two games, and the Giants and Chiefs can also play two games, although I don't expect that to happen.

Most people expect the Lions and Dolphins to lose in the Wild Card round, and whoever wins the Raiders-Texans game should be destroyed the following week at New England. The one certainty about these NFL playoffs is the Patriots have the best chance to reach the Super Bowl.

And we'll see if these predictions lead to Fantasy production for the players throughout the playoffs.

Quarterback

Tom Brady QB / New England Patriots (2016 regular season stats)
CMP %: 67.4 YDS: 3,554 TD: 28 INT: 2
  1. Tom Brady, Patriots
  2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
  3. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
  4. Matt Ryan, Falcons
  5. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
  6. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
  7. Eli Manning, Giants
  8. Alex Smith, Chiefs
  9. Brock Osweiler, Texans
  10. Matthew Stafford, Lions
  11. Matt Moore, Dolphins
  12. Connor Cook, Raiders

I struggled with the order for the top five quarterbacks, but I went the safe route with Brady at No. 1 since he should play three games in reaching the Super Bowl. Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Ryan and Prescott all have the chance for three games as well, but Rodgers and Roethlisberger could get four games if they reach the Super Bowl.

Wilson should play at least two games, and Manning could pull off the upset in Green Bay, which puts him at No. 7. Smith could also play two games, but he has minimal upside as a Fantasy quarterback.

Osweiler or Savage are No. 9 since I expect the Texans to play two games, and Stafford and Moore should be done after one week. Cook or McGloin also should play just one game since I expect the Raiders to lose on the road at Houston.

Running back

Le'Veon Bell RB / Pittsburgh Steelers (2016 regular season stats)
ATT: 261 YDS: 1,268 TD: 7 REC: 75 REC YDS: 616 REC TD: 2
    1. Le'Veon Bell, Steelers
    2. LeGarrette Blount, Patriots
    3. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
    4. Devonta Freeman, Falcons
    5. Ty Montgomery, Packers
    6. Lamar Miller, Texans
    7. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks
    8. Spencer Ware, Chiefs
    9. Latavius Murray, Raiders
    10. Dion Lewis, Patriots
    11. Tevin Coleman, Falcons
    12. Jay Ajayi, Dolphins
    13. Paul Perkins, Giants
    14. Rashad Jennings, Giants
    15. Zach Zenner, Lions
    16. James White, Patriots
    17. Charcandrick West, Chiefs
    18. Aaron Ripkowski, Packers
    19. Alfred Blue, Texans
    20. Alex Collins, Seahawks
    21. Christine Michael, Packers
    22. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers
    23. Darren McFadden, Cowboys
    24. Dwayne Washingon, Lions
    25. DeAndre Washington, Raiders
    26. Jalen Richard, Raiders
    27. Damien Williams, Dolphins
    28. Kenyan Drake, Dolphins

    If Bell gets four games in the playoffs then he should be the best Fantasy player in any playoff challenge, which is why he's No. 1. Blount has the chance for three games, and he led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns this season, but he won't help you much in any PPR challenge with only seven catches during the year.

    It wouldn't be a surprise to see Elliott or Freeman play three games and dominate, and both could easily be better than Blount, especially in PPR. But those first four running backs could be exceptional, especially if all four advance to the Championship Game in each conference.

    Montgomery is No. 5 since I expect the Packers to play four games, and I have Miller at No. 6 and Rawls at No. 7 since I expect them to play two games, which gives them the chance for plenty of volume. Ware and Murray could also play two games, so those two guys are next on the list.

    Lewis and Coleman are backups who still get plenty of touches, and we've seen both have solid games of late, especially Coleman. And Ajayi was tough to rank because he could easily struggle against the Steelers in the Wild Card round, but he could also have one great game even in a loss at Pittsburgh.

    I hope the Giants lean on Perkins over Jennings at Green Bay, and either of these guys could be a steal if the Giants upset the Packers and play at least two games. The same goes for Zenner, who has played well in the past two games for the Lions, but Detroit will likely be eliminated in the Wild Card round at Seattle.

    Wide receiver

    Antonio Brown WR / Pittsburgh Steelers (2016 regular season stats)
    TAR: 155 REC: 106 YDS: 1,284 TD: 12
    1. Antonio Brown, Steelers
    2. Jordy Nelson, Packers
    3. Julio Jones, Falcons
    4. Julian Edelman, Patriots
    5. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
    6. Davante Adams, Packers
    7. Doug Baldwin, Sehawks
    8. Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots
    9. Odell Beckham, Giants
    10. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
    11. Eli Rogers, Steelers
    12. Michael Crabtree, Raiders
    13. Amari Cooper, Raiders
    14. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
    15. Mohamed Sanu, Falcons
    16. Cole Beasley, Cowboys
    17. Taylor Gabriel, Falcons
    18. Chris Hogan, Patriots
    19. Terrance Williams, Cowboys
    20. Sterling Shepard, Giants
    21. Golden Tate, Lions
    22. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins
    23. Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs
    24. Kenny Stills, Dophins
    25. Anquan Boldin, Lions
    26. DeVante Parker, Dolphins
    27. Michael Floyd, Patriots
    28. Geronimo Allison, Packers
    29. Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks
    30. Randall Cobb, Packers
    31. Marvin Jones, Lions
    32. Cobi Hamilton, Steelers
    33. Will Fuller, Texans
    34. Seth Roberts, Raiders
    35. Paul Richardson, Seahawks

    Brown should have a big game against the Dolphins, and he should be great throughout the playoffs, especially if the Steelers play four games. The same goes for Nelson and Adams if the Packers play four games, and both were top-seven Fantasy receivers in standard leagues during the regular season.

    Jones looks to be fine following a two-game absence toward the end of the year with a toe injury, and he could play three playoff games. The same goes for Edelman, who went off in Week 17 at Miami.

    Bryant can easily be a top-three receiver in any playoff challenge if the Cowboys play three games, and I like Baldwin's potential in two games as the No. 1 receiver for Seattle. Mitchell was hard to rank since he missed Week 17 with a knee injury, but hopefully he'll be healthy coming off a bye. And it was hard to rank Beckham at only No. 9, but the Giants could easily be one and done in the Wild Card round at Green Bay.

    I hope Hopkins does well in potentially two playoff games, but his volume puts him in this spot. And Rogers has come on of late and slots in at No. 11 with the Steelers expected to play at least three games.

    The Raiders receivers are tough to trust with Derek Carr (leg) out, and we'll see if Gabriel (foot) is healthy after missing Week 17. I also struggled with Hill since he could be awesome (three touchdowns in his past four games), but he also went two games without a catch over that span and the Chiefs could lose in the Divisional Round.

    Tight end

    Martellus Bennett TE / New England Patriots (2016 regular season stats)
    TAR: 73 REC: 55 YDS: 701 TD: 7
    1. Martellus Bennett, Patriots
    2. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
    3. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks
    4. Ladarius Green, Steelers
    5. Jared Cook, Packers
    6. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans
    7. Jason Witten, Cowboys
    8. Eric Ebron, Lions
    9. Jesse James, Steelers
    10. Will Tye, Giants
    11. Dion Sims, Dolphins
    12. Ryan Griffin, Texans
    13. Luke Willson, Seahawks
    14. Richard Rodgers, Packers
    15. Clive Walford, Raiders

    Bennett has a touchdown in three of his past four games, and he should be the No. 1 tight end in the playoffs if the Patriots play three games. Kelce could challenge him for that spot, but he has to get at least two games for that to happen.

    Graham has a great matchup against the Lions in the Wild Card round and the Falcons in the Divisional Round, and he could also challenge for the No. 1 spot on this list. And we hope Green is healthy because of his potential for at least three games, especially in the Wild Card round against the Dolphins, but if he's out then James would get a boost in value.

    Cook hasn't been a great Fantasy tight end this year, but his potential for at least three games puts him in this spot. And Fiedorowicz scored in Week 17 at Tennessee, and hopefully he can build on that game against the Raiders in the Wild Card round, especially since he had six catches for 82 yards against Oakland in Week 11.

    Witten ranks at No. 7, kind of by default, with the hope he can produce one or two good outings if the Cowboys are able to play at least three playoff games. And Ebron hopefully will play at least one good game in the Wild Card round at Seattle.

    Kicker

    1. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
    2. Mason Crosby, Packers
    3. Chris Boswell, Steelers
    4. Matt Bryant, Falcons
    5. Dan Bailey, Cowboys
    6. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks
    7. Nick Novak, Texans
    8. Cairo Santos, Chiefs
    9. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders
    10. Robbie Gould, Giants
    11. Matt Prater, Lions
    12. Andrew Franks, Dolphins

    Defense/special teams

    1. Patriots
    2. Steelers
    3. Texans
    4. Falcons
    5. Seahawks
    6. Packers
    7. Cowboys
    8. Chiefs
    9. Giants
    10. Raiders
    11. Lions
    12. Dolphins
    Senior Fantasy Writer

    Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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